Do you like reading about dysfunctional relationships so toxic that both members of said relationship fantasize about murdering each other on a near daily basis? You do? Then I have a great book+movie combo for you in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
I watched a lecture series recently that hosted several best-selling authors and gave them an opportunity to talk about their books and their craft. One of the authors was Gillian Flynn. After seeing her speak not only about writing, but about her best novel Gone Girl, I decided I wanted to see just how great of a writer she was and why everyone was so up in arms about this story. Now that I’ve read it I can understand why this story took our popular culture by storm, but it did not please me in the slightest. The concept and setup are one-of-a-kind, but I was let down with how the story played out. Read on, friends.
PLOT: Imagine meeting someone at a party who is good looking, witty, funny, and attracted to you. The two of you hit it off as if you’re made for each other. The relationship moves quickly, you two fall into each other’s arms, and before you know it you’re married. Now imagine, five years down the road after marriage, once life has thrown you some curve balls and put you in situations you’d rather not be in, how’s your marriage? I can understand if there’s been some bumps, maybe a few fights. Well, for the couple of Nick and Amy Dunne after five years they are a married couple only in name. They hate each other. The book starts with Nick fantasizing about bashing his wife’s skull open so he can see her brains and try to understand her thoughts. Yet, despite their hatred towards each other, they stick together. And on their fifth year marriage anniversary Nick comes home to find that his wife is missing. The living room is messed up, the kitchen has blood on the floor, and the front door is wide open. Suddenly clues start popping up pointing to Nick’s involvement in Amy’s disappearance, telling a story of betrayal and murder. But Nick is completely innocent… Isn’t he? The story is quite popular for its twists and turns. Many people found themselves in this boat:
CHARACTERS: While the characters in the book were multi-faceted, had many secrets, and acted like somewhat authentic people, I couldn’t relate or sympathize or invest myself into any of them. Nick is… I lost all respect for Nick halfway through the novel. Amy is crazy and I could never agree with her. And of the other supporting characters, not one has a backbone large enough to speak some sense into the main character’s heads. I was disappointed with the characters. Not my favorite.
SETTING: Flynn is a great writer. She was able to keep me invested in a story I didn’t like by distracting me with beautiful writing. Her prose is fabulous, her vocabulary is extensive, and her descriptions are spot on– never too long and never too short. She, like many great authors I enjoy, bring just the right amount of humor into a scene or into the writing to keep the feeling light and not too depressing or dark. She made the world around these horrific characters seem absolutely real and vivid.
In my opinion you should just watch the movie. I mean, Flynn wrote the screenplay and the script for the movie anyways so you’re not missing anything. She just cut out all the superfluous parts and everything that was dumb. The book, while great writing, is such a let down. The movie is slightly different in its ending, which I enjoyed. If you like the movie so much you want more, then check out the book. But in my opinion you’ll be fine just watching the movie.